What Happens When You Violate a Restraining Order?

By Rebecca Rogge
Restraining orders are issued by judges.
gavel image by Cora Reed from Fotolia.com

Judges issue restraining orders to protect victims of abuse and harassment from further harm. Any violation of a restraining order is taken very seriously by the court, and punished accordingly.

Court

Once a victim applies for a restraining order and it is granted by a judge, the relationship between plaintiff and defendant becomes a court matter. This means that while the court will consider plaintiff testimony if she requests a repeal, it will not be automatically granted

Plaintiff

The plaintiff may not authorize the defendant to violate any part of the restraining order. Only the court has that authority.

Arrest

If a defendant is caught violating a restraining order, he can be immediately arrested by the police.

Punishment

The punishment for violating a restraining order varies by state. First-time, non-aggravated violations can carry fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. Subsequent, violent, or interstate violations carry increasingly extreme punishments.

Repeal

Restraining orders must be repealed by the court before the respondent can legally do anything that had been forbidden in the order. This is a difficult process which involves filing paperwork with the court and appearing before a judge.

About the Author

Based in northern Virginia, Rebecca Rogge has been writing since 2005. She holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from Patrick Henry College and has experience in teaching, cleaning and home decor. Her articles reflect expertise in legal topics and a focus on education and home management.